WHO DESERVES TO BE FOLLOWED?
Even today the conflict between the Shia and the Sunni
Muslims still exists regarding the leadership after the Holy
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.)
Why has this difference existed for such a long time
especially when Allah s.w.t has clearly said: "The truth stands
clear from error" (2:256)?
If the truth really does stand clear from error then surely
both the Shia's and the Sunni's must be able to recognise it
unless one is in such depths of darkness that the light of truth
is very difficult to reach.
The Shia's maintain that the Holy Prophet selected Imam Ali
for the post of leadership for he was the best candidate to
The Sunni's argue that the right to choose the 'leader of
Muslimeen' belongs to the ummah and the Holy Prophet left the
matter in the hands of the companions who then chose Abu bakr
r.a for the post of leadership.
Now how will the problem be solved?
Both the Shia's and the Sunni's boast that Islam is the only
religion on the face of the earth that has solutions to all the
existing and the future problems but its pity one has turned
away from the teachings of it and has silently sat in the
darkness of misguidance by following other than the teachings of
Allah provides a solution: "…If ye differ in anything among
yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do
believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most
suitable for final determination." (4;59)
Both schools of thought accept that the best way to end a
dispute is by referring it to the Holy Quran and Hadiths of the
Holy Prophet (S.A.W) and that is exactly what Islam prescribes.
Now should the Muslims discuss and accept that which is most
authentic or should they leave the problem as it is and unite on
Allah says: "By (the Token of) Time (through the ages),
Verily Man is in loss, Except such as have Faith, and do
righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of
Truth, and of Patience and Constancy." (Chap: 103 v 1-2-3)
Islam recommends us to join together and exalt one another to
the "Truth" only then one will become aware of the beliefs of
others and by faithfully comparing them to the Quran and Hadiths
one will recognise as to who really is following the teachings
of Islam and one must forget not the saying: "Listening to one
sided beliefs is not educating yourselves it's indoctrinating
So, in order for the sake of unity,(even though it is not
possible) a Muslim has to give up what contradicts the Holy
Quran and Sunnah to show his/her loyalty to the commands of
Allah and then submit to Allah's will which is to 'hold tight to
the rope of Allah and not be disunited amongst us'
To end the Shia v Sunni conflict we have to ask the Holy
Quran some questions regarding the 'leadership' as to who are
those capable of Ruling and what are the qualifications for a
That is way my topic is called: "Who deserves to be
So what does the Holy Quran say about it?
The Holy Quran: Their Prophet said to them: "Allah hath
appointed Talut as king over you." They said: "How can he
exercise authority over us when we are better fitted than he to
exercise authority, and he is not even gifted, with wealth in
abundance?" He said: "Allah hath Chosen him above you, and hath
gifted him abundantly with knowledge and bodily prowess: Allah
Granteth His authority to whom He pleaseth. Allah careth for
all, and He knoweth all things."(2:247)
# The above verse shines its answer to those who are unaware
of the qualifications of a ruler who exercises authority over
#The verse shows that even the Prophets are not allowed to
choose a leader for Allah's creation but Allah Himself appoints
one according to his merits and virtues.
# The reply given to the people who thought that wealth is a
condition for being a ruler was to show that Allah prefers a
'learned person over the ignorant' and 'not a wealthy over the
knowledgeable' and no matter how rich a person is, the wealth
will never be condition for the leadership.
#The wording "Allah hath Chosen him above you" shows that the
superiority given to Talut a.s was because of his knowledge and
# And finally the verse also declares that Allah grants His
Authority to whom He pleases and the people have no right to
indulge in this matter or to grant authority over themselves to
the one who was not chosen by Allah Himself.
The Holy Quran also contains another very interesting verse
from Chapter Yunus:
"…Is then He Who gives guidance to truth more worthy to be
followed, or he who finds not guidance (himself) unless he is
guided? what then is the matter with you? How judge ye?" (10:35)
# This verse is a leading question, the reply to which could
be nothing but one, i.e., "Only those who are self guided by the
divine guidance bestowed upon them, and who need not any
guidance whatsoever from anybody else, and are themselves on the
right path, deserve to be followed and not anyone else."
# Out of the two the one who has the capability of guiding to
the truth deserves to be followed not the one who depends on
others for guidance.
# Without the knowledge one cannot be a guide, hence the one
with most knowledge is worthy of being followed over the one
with less experience and Ilm.
# No sane person can accept that Allah prefers a ignorant
person over the learned, it is totally against Allah's laws and
LOGIC. The simple reason indicates that the two are not equal:
"Are those who know and those who know not alike?"
It all comes down to knowledge again which means that one of
the most important qualities that a leader should have in
himself is the quality of 'knowledge'.
Prophet Ibraheem (A.S) advances the same argument, informing
his father to follow him because of the knowledge granted to
"O my father! to me hath come knowledge which hath not reached
thee: so follow me: I will guide thee to a way that is even and
There are many verses in the Holy Quran which give light to
the fact that it is the most learned who deserves to be
Truthfulness, piety, justness, etc, are also some of the
qualities laid by Islam which a leader of the Muslimeen 'must'
also have for his post and these qualities cannot be denied by
anyone except the insane.
So according to the conditions laid down by Islam, the very
'truthful' the 'pious' the most 'knowledgeable' and the most
'just' person deserves the right to the leadership in ISLAM.
To come to a conclusion one has to force himself to the
comparative study between Hadhrat 'Abu Bakr r.a and Imam 'Ali
ibn Abu Talib' a.s
Some the following questions have to be dealt with in order
to arrive at a safe conclusion:
(1)Who was the most knowledgeable amongst the two regarding
the teachings of Islam?
(2)Who knew the true teachings of the Holy Quran and fully
understood its true internal and external meanings?
(3)Who was well informed about the Sunnah of the Holy
(4)Who was the best judge amongst them?
(5)Who was the most pious amongst the two
(6) Who was the most truthful among the two?
The majority of the Muslims believe that Imam Ali was the
most knowledgeable person after the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) who
also possessed other merits and virtues and there are those who
are inflicted with unfaithfulness who reject to this established
However the Shia's are ready to challenge the deniers of the
truth and can prove that it was Imam Ali ibn Abi talib a.s who
was the most knowledgeable person to exist after the Holy
Prophet (S.A.W) with all other requirements that are need in a
good leader of the Muslims.
There are many traditions handed down to the muslims but how
many of them declare that Abu bakr r.a was one of the most
learned amongst the companions of the Holy Prophet whose
knowledge matched the knowledge of Imam Ali a.s?
There are many narrations which loudly express that after the
Holy Prophet, Imam Ali had the most knowledge:
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "I am the City of
Knowledge, and Ali is its Gate. So whoever intends to enter the
City and the Wisdom, he should enter from its Gate."
(1)al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, pp 126-127,226, Chapter of
the Virtues of Ali, narrated on the authority of two reliable
reporters: one, Ibn Abbas, whose report has been transmitted
through two different but chain of authorities, and the other,
Jabir Ibn Abdullah al-Ansari. He said this tradition is
(2) Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, pp 201,637
(3)Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p635,
In addition to that, al-Tirmidhi also recorded that:
The Messenger of Allah said: "I am the House of Wisdom and
Ali is it's door."
(0) Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, pp 201,637
(0) Ibn Jarir al-Tabari recorder this tradition and wrote: "We
believe this tradition to be genuine and authentic." (as quoted
by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi in Kanz al-Ummal, v6, p401)
The Holy Prophet also said: "`Ali is the gateway of my
knowledge, the one who is to explain to my nation after me what
I have been sent with; loving him is a mark of genuine faith,
and hating him is hypocrisy."
Ref: al-Daylami from Abu Tharr's hadith as stated on page
156, Vol. 6, of Kanz al-`Ummal
The Holy Prophet said to Imam Ali: "You shall clarify to my
nation all matters wherein they differ."
Ref: al-Hakim on page 122, Vol. 3, of his Mustadrak as
reported by Anas. The author then comments: "This is an
authentic hadith according to the endorsement of both Shaykhs
, although they did not quote it themselves."
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) also made clear when he said to Imam
Ali: "O `Ali! You possess seven qualities about which nobody can
dispute with you: You are the first to truly believe in Allah,
the most just in fulfilling Allah's Promise, the most obedient
to Allah's Commandments, the most compassionate to the public,
the most informed of all issues, and the highest among them in
Ref: kanzul amaal Vol 6 p156
The Messenger said to his daughter Fatimah al-Zahra (AS):
"Would it not please you that I have married you to the first
Muslim in my nation, their 'most knowledgeable', and their
greatest in Wisdom."
Sunni reference: Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v3, p136; v5, p26
Similarly, Barida narrated: The messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF)
said to Fatimah (AS) that: "I gave you in marriage to the best
in my Ummah, the most knowledgeable in them, the best in
patience in them, and the first Muslim among them."
Sunni reference: Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v6,
Ibn Mas'ud said: "The Holy Quran has outward and inward
meanings, and Ali Ibn Abi Talib has the knowledge of both."
Sunni references: Hilyatul Awliyaa, by Abu Nu'aym, v1, p65
Much of the knowledge of the Prophet was transferred to Imam
Ali (AS) when the Prophet was taking his last breath:
Imam Ali said: "The Messenger of Allah at that time (before
his last breath) taught me a thousand chapters of knowledge,
every one of which opened for me one thousand other chapters."
(1)Kanz al-Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v1, p392
(2)Hilyatul Awliyaa, by al-Hafidh Abu Nu'aym
(3)Nuskhatah, by Abu Ahmad al-Faradi
Furthermore, Imam Ali (AS) once said: "By Allah, I am the
Brother of the Messenger of Allah and his friend and his cousin
and the inheritor of his knowledge. Who has a better title for
succeeding him than me?
(1)al-Khasa'is al-Alawiyyah, al-Nisa'i
(2)al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim v3, p112
(3)al-Dhahabi in his Talkhis of al-Mustadrak has admitted the
above words to be genuine.
(4)Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v5, p40
Also Imam Ali (AS) himself frequently stated in his sermons:
"Ask me before you lose me. By Allah, if you ask me about
anything that could happen up to the Day of Judgment, I will
tell you about it. Ask me, for, by Allah, you will not be able
to ask me a question about anything without my informing you.
Ask me about the Book of Allah, for by Allah, there is no verse
about which I do not know whether it was sent down at night or
during the day, or whether it was revealed on a plain or in a
(1) al-Isabah, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v4, p568
(1) Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v7, pp 337-338
(1) Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by al-Suyuti, p124
(1) at-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa'd, v2, Part 2, p101
Sa'id Ibn Musayyib as well as Umar Ibn al-Khattab said: "No
companion of the Prophet ever said 'Ask me' except Ali."
(1)Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p647, Tradition
(2)al-Isabah, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v2, p509
(1) Tarikh al-Khulafaa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, p171
(1) al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa'd, v2, p338
There are many more narrations to the same effect which
declare that it was none other than Imam Ali ibn Abi talib a.s
who held the highest knowledge after the Seal of the Prophets (S.A.W).
# Imam Ali's piety none can deny
# Concerning his truthfulness it is well known
# His justice, well its narrated by Abu Bakr that the Holy
Prophet said: "My hand and `Ali's are equal when it comes to
justice." This is hadith 2539 recorded on page 153, Vol. 6, of
# Regarding his judgements: Ibn Mas'ud said: "We were talking
that the most trustful referee/Judge in Medina to solve the
problems was Ali."
Ref: Tarikh al-Kabir, by al-Bukhari (the author of Sahih),
v1, part 2, p6
Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p646, Tradition
al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v2, p352
It is well know amongst the historians that many times Abu
Bakr and Hadhrat Umar r.a sought help from Imam Ali and to this
effect hadrat Umar many times expressed: "Had it not been for
Ali Umar would have been perished"
# Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p647, Tradition
# al-Isti'ab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, p39
# al-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa'd, v2, p338
The authority to rule over mankind is vested in the person who
can guide the people to the truth and not in the person or
person's who know not the right from wrong unless guided by
somebody else, and to this effect the Sixth Holy Imam, Jaffar
ibne Muhammad as- Sadiq (A.S) in refuting the theory (Khilafat
should be decided by the people) narrated from his father the
Fifth Holy Imam Muhammad ibne Ali al-Baqir(A.S)…from the Holy
Prophet, that he said: "Whoever drew the sword and called people
to himself to obey him while among the Muslims there is a person
more learned than him, then he is a straying imposter"